Tuesday, March 30, 2010

R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots)


Written in 1920, this work from Czech playwright Karel Capek is widely considered to be the origin of the word robot. Artificial workers rise up to slay their masters. It's a time-worn story (see: Frankenstein, or Blade Runner) but we heard ot here first.
The Czech word robota means "drudgery" or "servitude"; a robotnik is a peasant or serf. Although the term today conjures up images of clanking metal contraptions, Capek's Robots (always capitalized) are more accurately the product of what we would now call genetic engineering. The play describes "kneading troughs" and "vats" for processing a chemical substitute for protoplasm, and a "stamping mill" for forming Robot bodies. - Dennis G. Jerz
It was produced by the Cleveland Repertory Unit at the Carter Theatre, the same ensemble who would perform It Can't Happen Here in October.

Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival produced R.U.R. at the Lakewood Civic Auditorium in 1970.

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